This book, along with its sister journal text, was written to help therapists working with people who are struggling with self-destructive behaviors and want to change their lives and need a component to help with the family/significant other piece. Self-injury and self-destructive behaviors can become such a big part of life and relationships, that the thought of change is overwhelming. This is a long process, one that many people don’t understand, and will ask not just the person, but their entire family and social network to change with them.
This book is a set of exercises for therapists to use in therapy with patients/clients who self-injure to help with the family work. For purposes of consistency, the individual in treatment will be referred to as patient, although remember these are people who have problem behaviors, deserving of respect, compassion and dignity. The term is one of consistencies. Never forget the person and people we discuss. Secondly, we are talking about a range of self-destructive behaviors that involve thinking, behaving, reacting, perception, attribution, understanding and efforts at managing. It involves the entire approach to and interaction with the self and the world.
Our role as a treatment provider includes several goals. These goals include providing education, information, consultation and support for community services. It also is important to include family and other supportive people when necessary and appropriate. And then take it a step farther, have the patient/client help teach supportive family members these important self-management skills.
A necessary part of treatment includes family and friends who can help be supportive. This guide was written for people who are willing to work towards the goal of helping someone they care about learn new and healthier ways of coping with living.
Why do written work and talk about it therapy? Journaling is often a part of the therapy process. And, when used to augment therapy, it can be a powerful and helpful tool. These exercises were designed to provide structured interactions, hopefully in a contained and directed manner. This journal is to give therapists working with families and people with deliberate self-destructive impulses, urges and behaviors a structured way to work on one important lesson at a time and create meaning around the lesson.